Amendments to administrative, public access rules proposed

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The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking public comment on amendments to rules governing judges, senior judges and prosecutors as well as a proposed amendment to public access rules.

Among the proposed changes to the Indiana Administrative Rules is the creation of a new Administrative Rule 5.1, “Notice of Commencement or Termination of Term in Office and Employment” for judges and prosecuting attorneys.

Under the new rule, elected or appointed circuit, superior, county, probate, city, town or small claims court judges would give notice to the Office of Judicial Administration of:

  • The commencement and termination of the judge’s term of office.
  • The employment or termination of any magistrate, referee, commissioner, hearing office or other appointed judicial officer, whether paid by the state or another entity. The notice must designate whether the position was full- or part-time, the number of hours required per week and the courts where the judicial officer shall serve.

Regarding prosecuting attorneys, under the proposed amendment, each elected or appointed prosecuting attorney must give notice to the OJA of the commencement and termination of the prosecuting attorney’s term of office, and the employment or termination of a deputy prosecuting attorney whose salary is paid by the state. The prosecutor must also indicate in each circumstance whether the position is full- or part-time.

All notices would be required to be given two weeks in advance of the beginning or termination of the term in office on forms designed by the OJA.

A second proposed amendment to the Indiana Administrative Rules would clarify that a senior judge serves subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct, has the same authority as the appointing judge, and has authority to perform marriages and administer oaths. The amendment also would delete Section C and move to the new proposed Administrative Rule 5.1.

Finally, a proposed amendment to Access to Court Records Rule 5(A) would exclude from public access an entire case that the clerk has opened under the wrong case type.

The commentary explains that new Rule 5(A)(7), “is only available to the Clerk of Court to exclude from public access an entire case erroneously opened with a wrong case type immediately upon discovering the mistake. The Clerk shall then consult with a judge for final approval and shall make an appropriate entry. Parties cannot use Rule 5(A)(7) to bypass the specific requirements in Rule 6 for excluding an entire case or excluding Court Records from public access.”

Public comment on the proposed amendments is open until noon on Feb. 6. Comments may be submitted online or mailed to Office of Judicial Administration, Indiana Office of Court Services, 251 N. Illinois St., Ste. 800, Indianapolis, 46204.

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